WOSTA hosts ‘Gathering of the Orange’ from all over the continent

Restoring vintage Allis-Chalmers tractors has become a family affair for Gord Oughtred and his offspring. From left is grandson Coltin, son Warren, Gord and son John Oughtred.

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Forest – The Western Ontario Steam Threshers Association (WOSTA) hosted its 62nd annual Steam Threshers Show Aug. 15 to 18 at the Forest Fair Grounds.

It was truly an Allis Chalmers weekend with Allis Chalmers not only being the featured equipment, the show also played host to the International Allis-Chalmers ‘Gathering of the Orange’ with Allis-Chalmers enthusiasts from across North America attending.

WOSTA vice-president Doug Hamilton noted that the Allis-Chalmers Club of Ontario and the U.S. State of Wisconsin both had information booths on the grounds.

Bill Strutz of the Wisconsin Allis-Chalmers club explained that national Allis-Chalmers clubs hold  two ‘Gathering of the Orange’ events each year in North America and this year the two sites are the WOSTA show in Forest, Ont. and the Southeast Wisconsin Antique Power and Collectibles Association’s Fall Harvest Days held at the Racine County Fairgrounds in Union Grove, Wisconsin.

“It’s been held all over North America including the states of California, New York and Maine,” he said, adding that the Wisconsin gathering will be held Sept.13, 14 and 15.

“We are hoping to attract 400 to 500 vintage Allis tractors.” 

Doug Hamilton noted that the ‘Gathering of the Orange’ is a very special feature for the WOSTA event and has attracted a lot of people and equipment to the show from across the U.S. and Canada.

 “We are hosting a special ‘Gathering of the Orange’ banquet on Saturday evening and I’m really looking forward to that,” he said,,

Hamilton noted that, at one time, Allis-Chalmers was a huge company and a very popular brand of equipment but was discontinued in the 1980s.

Consequently, he noted, it is a widely collected brand today.

“The Gathering of the Orange has resulted in a great turnout of spectators, collectors and rare vintage equipment to this show,” he said, adding that the number of exhibitors and campers was also up from previous years.

“There is equipment here I didn’t even know Allis-Chalmers made,” he said.

He noted that new at the show this year, was the Tractor Olympics, in which teams of four tractors of the same brand compete to determine which brand of tractor is the best as well as testing the abilities of the persons behind the wheel.

Along with the ever-popular Tractpr Caravan, Fiddle Contest and Candy in the Straw for the kids, back by popular demand this year was the Canadian Horse Pullers Association with horse pulling competitions on the Sat. afternoon.

“If you’ve never seen heavy horse pulling, it’s a must see,” said Doug Hamilton.

Among the more rare and unusual tractors on the grounds was a 1970 Allis-Chalmers Two-Twenty Landhandler with front-wheel assist.

The tractor is owned by Gord Oughtred of Brantford, who noted there were only 100 of these made. Oughtred, a cash crop and vegetable farmer, said he bought the tractor new in 1970 from a local Allis-Chalmers dealer in Brantford and used it both as a farm tractor and in pulling competitions.

“That tractor has more than 10,000 hours on it, it’s done a pile of work in its day,” said Oughtred.

“We did all our farm work with it and then we’d strip it down take to the front wheel assist off and replace it with a narrow front end and use it for a pulling tractor.

He added that it used to take two men 24 hours to change that front end and get it ready for a pull.

He was an avid competitor at one time, noting that in 1973 he put 17,000 miles on a truck and trailer attending most of the major tractor pulling competitions across North America.

And that’s when his Two-Twenty proved to be a real powerhouse.

That year, Gord was the 1973 National Tractor Pullers Assciation’s point champioin in the 9,000 lb. super stock class.

He also won the class at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

Since then, restoring and pulling vintage Allis-Chalmers tractors has become a family affair with Gord’s sons Warren and John and grandson Coltin joining him in the hobby.

The boys are also avid Allis-Chalmers collectors and, among them, they own 30 vintage Allis-Chalmers tractors.

“If you’re an Allis-Chalmers collector, the Two-Twenty is the real cat’s meow, it’s the most sought-after tractor Allis ever made because there was only 100 ever made,” said Warren Oughtred.

“I read years ago that you would never find one of these working in the field because collectors had grabbed them all up.”

I thought that was funny because we were still doing all our fieldwork with this one at the time.”

John Oughtred noted that the front wheel assist is what makes the 1970 Two-Twenty unusual.

“It was really way ahead of its time,” he said, adding that a restored One-Twenty recently sold at an auction in Kentucky for $92,000.

“I sure it would be very difficult to find one that is still with the original owner, this may be the only one.”

He added that their tractor is still in its ‘work clothes,’ meaning that, while it was repainted many years ago, it hasn’t been totally restored.

He added that they intend to do that some day but are in no hurry.

Warren noted that restoring tractors has become an expensive hobby but one that his father really enjoys.

“My Dad does a fabulous job with these old tractors, he spends hours on them,” he said.

He added that vintage tractors represent an important part of North America’s agricultural history.

“These were the tractors that changed people’s lives,” he said.

“You have to remember the guys who bought a tractor in the 1940s or 1950s probably bought it to replace a team of horses, and for a famer that was a life-changing event.”

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